Loke: Khairul’s degree questioned online, not by unity govt

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The unity government has never questioned the academic qualifications of Perikatan Nasional’s Kuala Kubu Baharu candidate Khairul Azhari Saut, says DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke.

According to Loke, it was social media users who questioned Khairul’s academic qualifications by pointing out that he had a master’s without having a bachelor’s degree.

“We never said his qualifications were not valid. It was raised on social media. We never started it,” he told reporters during a walkabout in Kuala Kubu Baharu on Wednesday (May 1).

Instead, Loke said Perikatan was trying to divert attention by raising questions on Pakatan Harapan candidate Pang Sock Tao’s academic qualifications.

“So, what we did was to state facts. We did not engage in any form of character assassination,” he added.

Loke also said the candidates simply had to state the facts of their qualifications when there are questions raised.

“(Pang) did not speak much, but only shared her transcripts.

Bernama

“We have no interest in character assassination. That is not our way. We only promote ourselves and do not bring down other people’s dignity,” he added.

The issue arose over Khairul’s biodata which stated that he received an executive diploma in management from Universiti Malaya in 2019 and a master’s in Business Management from Universiti Malaysia Pahang Al-Sultan Abdullah (UMPSA) two years later.

The sequence led to questions on the validity of his qualifications, with some observers asking how he obtained his master’s even though his previous qualification was a diploma.

Following that, PAS youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari questioned Pang’s academic qualifications.

In response, Pang posted transcripts of her SPM and UPSR results which revealed she scored straight As in the examinations, and was a student of SM Chung Hua in Port Dickson.

Fadhli later apologised but added that the issue had disclosed that Pang was from the vernacular school system.

The issue, however, triggered rumours of Pas being asked to sit out from campaigning for PN in the by-election.

However, Selangor PN chairman Datuk Seri Azmin Alidismissed such rumours.

Meanwhile, analysts say Fadhli’s action of questioning Pang’s academic background may have cost some votes for the opposition.

They said such an act may not only affect votes from the Chinese electorate but also from the Malay voters in the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election.

Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Fadhli’s statement would push away Chinese voters from supporting the opposition in the May 11 by-election.

“Instead of highlighting important matters, the Pas leader chose to raise issues that were too personal in his attempt to discredit the opposition’s candidate.

“I do not think such a situation will resonate well with the Malay voters in Kuala Kubu Baharu.”

Political analyst Dr Ainul Adzellie Hasnul said Fadhli’s remarks had not only backfired on Pas but also on PN in the campaigning. The fact that Pang scored straight As in her Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations, said Ainul, did not paint a good picture of Pas and PN.

He also described the issue raised by Fadhli as petty.

“Pas wanted to assist Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) in the by-election but failed to do so after Pang silenced her critics with her excellent examination results.

“Instead of engaging in personal attacks, all candidates contesting this by-election should share with the Kuala Kubu Baharu constituents their vision and plans to improve the livelihood of the people and solution to their predicament during this campaign period.”